The House and Senate adjourned sine die on May 18 – the constitutionally set limit of 120 days.
It’s always a challenge to get to adjournment and I applaud my colleagues for the accomplishments made for Alaska this session. We made progress on education, AMHS funding, energy, crime, telehealth, and we are finally catching up on deferred maintenance for schools, the University, and other state buildings/assets.
Regarding the budget – once it became clear the war in Ukraine would cause oil prices to spike and Alaska would experience windfall revenue, the Senate Finance Committee’s goal became twofold:
- Squelch the feeding frenzy that follows unexpected windfalls by replenishing our starved savings accounts.
- Address the growing deferred maintenance needs around the state.
The Legislature has sent the governor a budget that saves $1.5 billion, funds government operations at the levels Alaskans want, and provides a PFD/Energy Relief payment of $3,200 per eligible citizen.
Most importantly, we did not overdraw the Permanent Fund. We stayed within the confines of the 5% draw limit and preserved the purchasing power of the fund for future generations.
As the dust settles from the hectic final weeks of session, my staff will open the main district office in Ketchikan, I will go home to Sitka, and the Juneau office will continue to remain open.
Summer is a busy and enjoyable time of year for all of Alaska – have fun & stay safe. I look forward to the opportunity to visit you and the island communities of Southeast Alaska soon.